There are so many ways to celebrate the incredible weather in Seattle this week, including checking out some of the best music shows, as picked by our critics. We've got everything from the only man to pull off "Cougar" as a middle name (John Mellencamp), to a double bill of top-notch modern soul singers (Corinne Bailey Rae with Jamila Woods), to the Seattle return of one of our favorite Stranger Geniuses (Erik Blood). Click through the links below for complete details, ticket links, and music clips, and find even more options on our music calendar.
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The Mountain Goats with Holy Sons
Staying true to Goths, the new Mountain Goats album starts like a thumping Nick Cave B-side, twisting through the dark uncertainties of every human’s timeline. So, much of the same for frontman and lead lyricist John Darnielle—a new overarching concept with each album, yet the same dedication to plumbing the depths of his own character, as well as the character of each phase of his life, which is what makes it so easy to connect to. There’s an honest power in writing your life as it is, in pulling from favored themes or specific memorial vignettes, and moving in tandem with these thoughts, creating an album per moment. Darnielle is best at this; each new album bids us to follow and experience these songs-as-chapters with him. From “The Portuguese Goth Metal Bands”: “Keep what’s precious, drop what’s not without a second thought”—and move on. KIM SELLING
Wavves, Kino Kimono, So Stressed
The antics of Wavves frontman Nathan Williams have occasionally overshadowed his band’s music, like earlier this year when he and his bro Joel (his other half in electro duo Sweet Valley) created a Whack-A-Mole–style video game called Kill the Alt-Reich, where players get points for punching Richard Spencer’s face. But make no mistake, what Williams does with Wavves is worth talking about—upbeat indie rock dosed generously with sun-lit surf-punk, head-bobbing post-punk, and jangly, melody-hugging noise pop. The new You’re Welcome is a fine studio effort, rawer than 2015’s V and filled with unexpected yet oddly appealing sonic accents and time signatures. The eponymous first single is full of kick-drum thumps, droney choruses, and ascending salt-stained oohhs, while “Million Enemies” spits guitar riffs and growls bass lines as Williams and company cheerily harmonize the refrain. LEILANI POLK
David Lindley with Cindy Lee Berryhill
This bill features two of the most underrated acts in America. David Lindley plunked and falsettoed with Jackson Browne and Warren Zevon. He’s never lost his baby face, and he can play anything with strings on it. His solo material proves a beguiling blend of surrealism (he got started in the psychedelic band Kaleidoscope), sorrow, and childlike wonder, plus touches of reggae. Blending folk with so-called “anti-folk,” Cindy Lee Berryhill is back with a new album, The Adventurist, her first after losing her husband, Crawdaddy magazine owner/editor Paul S. Williams, a founder of American rock criticism. The music is somber, naturally, but also playful, dryly humorous, rich in harmony and harmonies, including horns, strings, and a washing machine for a drum machine. Jimmy Webb has to be jealous. ANDREW HAMLIN
Corinne Bailey Rae with Jamila Woods
Jamila Woods made one of my favorite albums of 2016, HEAVN. Intricately arranged and weeping with the weight of its own gifts, each track of that album ripped through topics like police brutality and raising a community as a black woman with grace and fury and light. I can’t wait till Woods is the headliner for her next Seattle show. Tonight, she’s opening for Corinne Bailey Rae, who returned to the public consciousness last year with The Heart Speaks in Whispers, a swirling treasure of Afro-futurist electro-pop and folksy soul that rises above each genre. Her tone is warm, open, and spacious, with promises for more and for better. KIM SELLING
Kaskade, Illenium, Darrius
Kaskade’s “4 AM,” a faerie-dust puff of spa techno from 2006, was a low-key fave of mine for a quick second, especially after AraabMuzik flipped it into the euphoric hiphop instrumental “Streetz Tonight” on 2011’s Electronic Dream. In most “serious techno” circles that’d be considered a guilty pleasure, but I put no stock in the concept of guilty pleasures, music-wise. I also don’t feel guilty saying Kaskade has never done anything nearly that good again. His latest singles are uniformly dull slices of vaguely inspirational (dare I say Christian?) power EDM, all platitudes with no punch. Not that “4 AM” needed punch, per se, but it was so gauzy and bass-deficient it was practically new age anyway. Maybe this new batch just needs the touch of an open-minded MPC fiend like Araabmuzik, but I don’t see much hope for redemption. KYLE FLECK
Heresiarch, Ritual Necromancy, Harvest Gulgatha, Hissing, Void Wrath
As death metal growls and grinds its way into its third decade of existence, there’s reason to wonder what territory is left to plunder. If you’ve got all the old Earache classics and don’t feel compelled to listen to nostalgic imitations, or if you’ve reached your threshold with the technical prowess and mechanical precision of contemporary ProTooled prodigies, please know that there are still underground bands out there pushing death metal into increasingly brutal and uncompromising realms. Take New Zealand’s Heresiarch, for example. On songs like “Abrecan,” the Wellington band combines the ugly palette of contemporaries like Portal and Pissgrave with stretches of empty space and repetition in order to make their all-out assaults even more devastating. The kids may not be all right, but they still know how to make metal unsuitable for the masses. BRIAN COOK
New Kids On The Block with Boyz II Men and Paula Abdul
It was the late 1980s when New Kids on the Block began their rise to short-lived superstardom. I was 9, all my elementary-school friends thought they were the bee’s knees, and even though I wasn’t really into the cute crooners because they sounded like kids (I preferred adults) and thought their pop was boring, I feigned undying devotion to avoid the risk of judgment. In hindsight, I recognize the schmaltzy appeal, even if I’m still not a fan, and acknowledge the allure of this nostalgia tour, which also features Boyz II Men, a vocal group I dug despite their plying overly sappy R&B balladry (“Motown Philly” made me get down with my bad young self), and Paula Abdul, whom I still have a fondness for despite trite lyrics (“Forever Your Girl” is the worst) and music that hasn’t aged well over time. LEILANI POLK
Raven Matthews, Zander Yates, Jesse Stout
Some rap is rooted in a scene or a sound, but Raven Matthews doesn’t care about that. Disco Christ, the Seattle artist’s latest album, features abrasive Auto-Tune squalls, prickly guitar work, a few beats that might fit on a Main Attrakionz album, and a song about the difficulties of long-term relationships that samples SpongeBob SquarePants. It’s a jumbled listen, an experience akin to absentmindedly scrolling Instagram’s Discover tab. The eclecticism has a purpose, though: Matthews’s work is all about unfiltered expression. It’s an approach that’s deeply indebted to rappers like Lil B, who uses the internet as a sounding board for a fire hose of ideas. Matthews definitely isn’t boring, and Seattle rap could always use more originality. ANDREW GOSPE
The Body, Lingua Ignota, Muslin, To End It All
The amount of sheer noise produced by the two-man musical force known as the Body doubles that of most bands with twice the members. The masterminds behind this Rhode Island sonic assault, Chip King and Lee Buford, blend industrial synth, crushing, distortion-caked sludge metal, and post-rock into a unique mélange of loudness. Along with their own 14 releases, the Body have recorded six collaborative albums alongside Full of Hell, Krieg, Thou, Braveyoung, and Vampillia. The first time I saw the Body in 2008, King chose to perform without a microphone; he somehow projected his screaming voice loud enough to hear atop their wall of sound. KEVIN DIERS
The Darcys have changed a lot in 10 years. The Toronto group launched as a four-piece that pushed dark, propulsive, TV-on-the-Radio-influenced art rock, and released three LPs and an abstract, intriguing, and mildly creepy cover rendering of Steely Dan’s Aja as well as a 22-minute rock epic, “Hymn for a Missing Girl,” before half the band quit in 2014. The two remaining members soldiered on and dropped a full-length in 2016 that marked an abrupt change of pace: Centerfold kicks off with a hip-swinging, disco-tinged synth-rock number, “Studio City,” which finds Jason Couse and Wes Marskell singing in complementing yet contrasting harmonies—deeper intones against falsetto croons—while “Arizona Hwy” lightly processes these harmonies against summery 1980s synthesizers, beats, and drum machine snaps; its video finds the musicians wearing fine mustaches and cruising around in an aging El Camino. LEILANI POLK
Erik Blood, Western Haunts, Season of Strangers, OC Notes
Erik Blood makes richly layered shoegaze rock, hiphop, and electronic/orchestral film music that's infused with an air of profound sensuality and mystery. DAVE SEGAL
Jarrett Cherner Trio with Steve Treseler
He is based in Brooklyn, his name is Jarrett Cherner, he is a pianist, and he entered the jazz scene in 2006 with an album, Burgeoning, that did not dazzle, that was not deep, and yet wasn’t merely competent. On this and other recordings, there is something about Cherner’s style that’s hard to describe. When you hear Bill Charlap, you think: sophisticated by Hank Jones; when you hear Dan Tepher, you think: academic like John Lewis; and when you hear Brad Mehldau, you think: genius like McCoy Tyner. But Cherner is not sophisticated, academic, or a genius. This is the best way I can describe him: He plays like one who really is happy to be a pianist. Tune after tune on his albums, you get the feeling that if he did something else with his life, he would always be sad that he didn’t play the piano. CHARLES MUDEDE
John Mellencamp, Emmylou Harris, Carlene Carter
He began as John Cougar, then he changed his name to the less hick-sounding John Cougar Mellencamp, and finally ended with the respectable John Mellencamp. But to me, he will always be John Cougar. That’s the name that made him—with rootsy rocking tunes like “Jack & Diane”—and he should be proud of it. Yes, the record company forced that “hillbilly” name on him, but the record company also forced him not to make Jack in “Jack & Diane” a black man, as he originally intended. True, a tune about an interracial couple “in the heartland” would have been politically powerful, but certainly not a big hit. Had Cougar imposed his wishes on the record company, the world would probably have never heard of Mellencamp. It works that way sometimes. As Mellencamp grew older and more successful, his songs became heavier and more concerned about the state of working-class Americans: "Check It Out," and "Hard Times for an Honest Man," and so on. These tunes are not bad, but they lacked that rawness of his work as the hillbilly Cougar. CHARLES MUDEDE
Patchwerks: Shawn Rudiman, Chloe Harris, Shuttle
Patchwerks is a boutique synthesizer and electronics shop in Eastlake, and it’s behind this appearance from Shawn Rudiman, a techno producer from Pittsburgh who specializes in hardware performance. The heartbeat of Rudiman’s act is the Roland TR-909, techno’s quintessential drum machine. (Hence the show’s start time of 9:09 p.m.) That, combined with some sequencing, synths, and effects, constitutes his live set. His music is assertive and blunt—the sort of thumping techno that’s perhaps to be expected when so little mediates listener and machines. It’s also fluid and extemporaneous—Rudiman’s mastery of his gear lets him play off the crowd like a DJ. For gearheads who want a peek behind the curtain, he’s holding a workshop at Patchwerks on June 10. ANDREW GOSPE
An Evening with Jeffrey Osborne
Beginning with Love Men Ltd. (also known as L.T.D.) and cruising into his own widely acclaimed solo career, Jeffrey Osborne has spent decades weaving funk, soul, R&B, and pop into his own unique sound, the success of which has netted him five gold and platinum albums.
Cascadia Resists: An Acoustic Evening in Support of the ACLU & Planned Parenthood
In an effort to stem the tide of bile coursing forth from this presidential administration, local indie rock legends Death Cab For Cutie will join up with The Decemberists and Sera Cahoone to play an acoustic charity show with proceeds going to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.
Escobar was a musical prodigy who saw his talent through to two Emmys with the hiphop-violin duo Nuttin' But Stringz. After a brief period of depression and homelessness, according to his website, he's back with a new album full of original material. Boundless contains lots of violin music you can bounce to, but there's more lyrical, contemplative moments here than in previous efforts. RICH SMITH
Def Leppard, Poison, XXX, Tesla
Relive your best hair days with this quadruple-threat bill of '80s stalwarts Def Leppard, Poison, XXX (an amalgam supergroup of Bret Michaels, Tiocki Rockett, Bobby Dall, and CC DeVille), and Tesla.
My Goodness, Smokey Brights, Year of Death
My Goodness play blues where the amp buzz hovers in the background, waiting for an opening to make its point; singer Joel Schneider doesn’t sound bluesy so much as he does a guy on a bus, or in an alleyway, musing, but scared of that amp buzz, unless Andy Lum’s drums beat it back. In Smokey Brights, one heterosexual couple in matrimony sings, three other dudes make with the new-wavey noise behind. They’re too young for boomers, but for one song they’re still waiting “for the trickle down,” i.e., that cargo cult from when boomers ate their Freakies round the Saturday-morning tube. As for Year of Death, well, I guess I was wrong about the goths moving off. DIY drama to prod Siouxsie Sioux off the couch. ANDREW HAMLIN
Daniel Lanois, Rocco Deluca, Don McGreevy
Producer, songwriter, and guitarist Daniel Lanois has cut records for U2, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Emmylou Harris. His recent solo work, however, betrays scant evidence of such starry credits. Instead, his plush ambient music is indicative of his work with Brian Eno and Jon Hassell. Lanois is a master of space and texture, especially when it comes to the pedal steel guitar. It appears intermittently on 2014’s Flesh and Machine, which is a gorgeous record in its own right, but it’s the star of last year’s Goodbye to Language (a collab with tourmate Rocco Deluca). Out of nothing but pedal steel, lap steel, and studio processing, Lanois creates rich, fluid waves of tone. The instrument’s plaintive wail—long associated with country music—sounds reinvigorated in this unexpected context. ANDREW GOSPE
Future with Guests
Though Young Thug will not be riding the tour bus to this stop, this episode of the Nobody Safe Tour does include party starters Migos, A$AP Ferg, Zoey Dollaz, and, of course, Future, whose Auto-Tuned bloodhound howl has been perhaps the loudest and most distinct sound to emerge from the boiling-over Atlanta scene in the past decade. His two 2017 albums, HNDRXX and FUTURE, are typically packed affairs for the prolific vocalist—17 mostly guest-free tracks per disc that count a mix of chart-topping singles and rambling tales of sexual conquest. Backed by a who’s who of big-name producers, like Metro Boomin, Southside, DJ Khaled, DJ Mustard, and even Seattle’s Jake One, Future’s got all the new material needed to rattle the White River Amphitheater. TODD HAMM
Mono/Poly, Huxley Anne, Newaxeyes
Although the hype has died down around the Los Angeles beat scene, its offspring still remain active. The rise of Mono/Poly (Charles Dickerson of Bakersfield, California) feels ripped right out of the Flying Lotus playbook, from releasing his breakthrough album on the famed beatsmith’s Brainfeeder label in 2011 to having a song featured on the Grand Theft Auto 5 soundtrack, and juggling production work for the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Ne-Yo, and Snoop Dogg, while working with LA scene stalwarts like Thundercat, Nosaj Thing, and Daedelus. If you like your beats off-kilter and hazy, then expect a night full of them as the globe-trotting producer lays down what is likely to be an all-killer set. NICK ZURKO
Pickwick with Cataldo
Cataldo have been lying low for the past few years, but they’re back now, first with a new video (“Photograph”), then a new album (Keepers), then a prom for adults to call their own. Their latest is a breath of fresh indie, pulling skeins of folksy Arthur Russell–adjacent influences together to braid a relaxing summer sound that’s only a little bit fussy. They’ll be followed by Pickwick, playing what I call “Doe Bay casual” soul- and blues-infused rock. With their latest singles “Turncoat” and “In Time” from their upcoming album LoveJoys, Pickwick seem to be dabbling in a jaunty funk rock no-man’s-land. The synth swing and heavy-handed shaker percussion are certainly developed more than they have been in their past work, but the band practices unnecessary restraint in this territory. If you’re gonna go the funk route, you gotta be ready to get truly weird, otherwise you’re just treading water. KIM SELLING
Sleeparchive performing in Seattle should be a definitive “holy shit” moment for minimal-techno heads here. The Berlin-based Danish producer (real name: Roger Semsroth) scarcely makes it to the Northwest, so if you have any interest at all in austere 4 a.m. club music that will surreptitiously bleep you into submission, you need to attend this show. Coast2C (Mexico City/Portland’s Sofía Acosta) is a new name to me, but immersion in her SoundCloud made me an instant fan of her DJ sets, which go heavy on distorted and asymmetrical techno. Rest up, take your vitamins, get your head right, and prepare for a 10-hour binge of the slammingest, brainiest techno your synapses ever fried to. Respect to secondnature for this amazing booking. DAVE SEGAL
Volunteer Park Pride Festival
This year’s Pride Fest at Volunteer Park boasts a strong musical lineup, with live sets by Big Dipper, Double Duchess, SassyBlack, Sisters, Prom Queen, Mode Music Studios’ Nuclear Quartet, and DJ Toya B. Local LGBTQIA folks get all of this, plus a vintage and local crafts bazaar, artist booths, a beer garden, food trucks, and more.
The Moody Blues
We have the Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed 50th Anniversary Tour to thank for the group’s two-night residency at Woodinville’s Chateau Ste. Michelle. Yup, they’re playing their classic (tho’ now dollar-bin staple) album start to finish. Days of Future Passed was the Moodys effectively mating traditional classical music and arrangements to their slightly lysergic rock (just dig “Lunch Break: Peak Hour”), which birthed one of the most famous, and prolly the first fully realized, progressive albums ever. Honestly, no matter how overplayed or familiar “Nights in White Satin” may seem, it is STILL epic in its heaving, (ahem) moody arrangement. And no matter how many times I hear this record, Mike Pinder’s Mellotron playing always leaves me shook. MIKE NIPPER
Gospel-jazz impresario Lizz Wright has established herself as a powerful singer-songwriter with a remarkable alto voice and an innate ability to concoct earthy and affecting jazz interpretations.
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